RULES

Australia’s recreational drone safety rules have been around since 2002 and are designed to protect other people in the air and on the ground.

You must not fly your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property, so follow these rules every time you fly:

You must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of-sight. This means being able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through a device) at all times.

You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres

You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400ft) above the ground.

You must keep your drone at least 30 metres away from other people.

You must not fly your RPA over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue.

You must only fly one RPA at a time.


You must not fly over or above people. This could include beaches, parks, events, or sport ovals where there is a game in progress.

If your drone weighs more than 100g, you must keep at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes. Flying within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) is possible, but only if no manned aircraft are operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/HLS, you must manoeuvre away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible.

Remember, you must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property.


Respect personal privacy don’t record or photograph people without their consent—this may breach state laws.

 

 

Flying commercially or for economic gain is illegal, unless you have your remote pilot licence or are flying in the sub-2kg category.

Download safety pamphlet

Follow the rules and have fun, but remember—your drone is your responsibility.

*Please be aware the above rules only cover aviation safety. Other rules may apply depending on where you are flying. These additional rules could be in effect and enforced by local councils, national parks or state-based government organisations like environmental agencies.

It is a good idea to always research the area where you want to fly, checking with your local council or national park before you fly. There’s also advice on our Best practice: tips and tricks page.

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APP

Can I fly there?

Not sure about where you can fly your drone?

We’ve produced ‘Can I fly there?’, an easy-to-use smartphone app showing where you can and can’t fly.

The ‘Can I fly there?’ drone safety app is available for Android and iOS devices, as well as a web-based HTML5 version.

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TIPS

Best practice: Tips and tricks

As well as following the safety rules, there are other things you need to think about to keep you and your drone safe.

Buying and flying for the first time

After purchasing your first drone, you might be tempted to tear open the box and go flying straight away. Don’t!

Flying without first understanding your drone is likely to result in you crashing and destroying your aircraft. So make sure you read the operating instructions, follow the manufacturer’s guidance and fly in a safe, open location.

 

Battery safety

Batteries can be a hazard if not taken care of, so it’s important you look after them and inspect them after every use.

Whether they’re dropped, smashed or overheated, lithium batteries can become unstable if damaged. So, if your battery shows any signs of leaking, discolouring, bulging or deforming—replace it.

For more information, go to CASA’s battery safety web page.

 

Privacy

Privacy is an important issue that all drone owners need to think about. While rules vary from state to state, you should always respect personal privacy and not record or photograph anyone without their consent.

If you are concerned about drones and their implications for privacy, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

 

Whales, dolphins and eagles

There are certain members of the animal kingdom you need to keep your drone away from.

State-based environmental laws prohibit drones from flying within 300m of marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins. Fines for breaching these rules can range from $300 to $110,000.

Birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks and falcons don’t take kindly to a buzzing drone nearby, like this one.

So before you take off, it’s a good idea to check the area first and land if you see any flying talons nearby.

 

12 ways your drone can land you in trouble

Flight Safety Australia recently published ‘Dirty Dozen: 12 ways your drone can land you in trouble’. Read the article on Flight Safety Australia.

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VIDEOS

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has produced a range of safety videos covering the safe operations of drones in Australia.

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Report unsafe flying

Have you seen someone breaking the drone rules?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is responsible for regulating and overseeing drone safety in Australia. If you believe you have seen unsafe drone operations, report it to CASA by completing the online form.

report button

 

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RESOURCES

Find out more about drone safety rules. Visit CASA’s drone homepage.

Flying commercially under 2kgs?

You can fly commercially without needing a licence, providing you register your details with CASA, complete a notification form and fly within certain conditions. Learn more about flying in the sub-2kg commercial category.

Want to become a remote pilot?

If you want a career as a drone operator you will need to get your remote pilot’s licence (RePL). Learn more about gaining your RePL.

12 ways your drone can land you in trouble

Flight Safety Australia recently published ‘Dirty Dozen: 12 ways your drone can land you in trouble’. Read the article on Flight Safety Australia.

Social media

CASA publishes safety advice, tips, tricks, videos and safety alerts for drone flyers via its social media channels.

Follow CASA to stay up-to-date on the all the latest drone-related safety material.

 

Download safety brochures

Quiz

Think you know all about Australia's drone safety rules? Test out your knowledge in this quiz about Australian drone rules.

Keeping your drone within your visual line of sight means:
What is the maximum height above ground level that you can fly your drone?
You must keep your drone 30 metres away from:
How many drones can you fly at a time?
You can fly directly over other people:
Recreational drone operators can fly within 5.5km of a major airport (controlled aerodrome):
What should you do if you become aware of a manned aircraft flying towards your location?
It is legal to fly for money (commercially) providing:
Flying your drone in Sydney Harbour is:
CASA’s app showing you where you can and can’t fly is called:
Before every flight, you should:
The aviation acronym ‘AGL’ stands for:
As well as following the aviation safety rules, you also need to follow local legislation for:
If you see a drone operator breaking the aviation safety rules, you should:
What’s the heaviest fine you can receive for breaching Australia’s drone safety laws?
Australian drone rules
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